Operation Safe Driver enforcement campaign set for July 12-18

May 12, 2020

Land Line Staff

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While the COVID-19 pandemic may have temporarily put the brakes on International Roadcheck, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance says it plans to move forward with other large-scale enforcement campaigns, starting with Operation Safe Driver Week in July.

CVSA issued a news release Tuesday announcing July 12-18 for Operation Safe Driver Week. The focus of this year’s enforcement campaign will be on speeding. A CVSA spokesperson also confirmed the organization plans to stage its annual Brake Safety Week in August, as per usual.

In late March, The Transportation Intermediaries Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association teamed up to convince CVSA to postpone its annual Roadcheck campaign during the coronavirus crisis. The news release does not provide a rescheduled date for Roadcheck.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s government affairs manager, said the Association will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak as the dates draw nearer.

“If things don’t improve significantly, we will communicate our concerns to CVSA, and call for a delay,” he said.

During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel throughout North America will be looking for drivers who are engaging in unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways. Identified drivers will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning or citation.

In its news release, CVSA noted that less traffic because of shelter-in-place and shutdown orders in most states appears to have encouraged some drivers to ignore traffic safety laws, including speed limits.

“Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many jurisdictions are seeing a severe spike in speeding,” the release states.

As the number of vehicles on roadways decreased in March and April, average speeds measured during the first week of April increased significantly in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

According to recent data, the average speed on interstate highways, state highways and expressways in those areas increased by as much as 75% compared to January and February.  To address this alarming trend of increased speeding on our roadways during the pandemic, CVSA selected speeding as the focus area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week.

“It’s essential that this enforcement initiative, which focuses on identifying and deterring unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, go on as scheduled,” CVSA President John Samis, a sergeant for the Delaware State Police, said in the news release. “As passenger vehicle drivers are limiting their travel to necessary trips and many commercial motor vehicle drivers are busy transporting vital goods to stores, it’s more important than ever to monitor our roadways for safe transport.”

Historically, drivers’ actions have contributed to 94% of all traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Facts report. And although NHTSA’s 2018 highway crash fatality data showed a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 0.9%.

“While, of course, we’re pleased to see a decrease in the overall number of fatalities, it was also devastating to learn that the number of fatalities involving large trucks increased. Any increase whatsoever in roadway fatalities is unacceptable,” Samis said.

In addition to a focus on speeding, examples of other dangerous driver behaviors that law enforcement will track during Operation Safe Driver Week include distracted driving, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, and evidence of drunk or drugged driving.

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